A Different Kind of New Year’s Resolution

This New Year’s resolution is 31 days long; will you take the challenge?

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YOU ARE not good enough. You are a second-class citizen. These are the messages you get when you look through Facebook ads, magazines, billboards, watch TV and go to the movies – In order to be loved, you need to change your body.

But it’s not true. What if I told you that in order to be at your healthiest and your happiest that you had to stop focusing on your appearance? Likely, you’d think me crazy, radical or impractical.

Would you die for the perfect body?

According to the Succeed Foundation and the Centre for Appearance Research at UWC Bristol, 48% of gay men would willingly give up a year of their life to have their ideal body, and ten percent of gay men would exchange 11 years of their life for the perfect body.

Is that more culturally acceptable than changing the focus of the most common New Year’s resolutions: losing weight and staying fit?

Brandon Ambrosino, author of The Tyranny of Buffness, an article in The Atlantic, wrote about the unrealistic and unhealthy body image that gay male culture perpetuates.

“I didn’t know I was skinny-fat until my Russian boyfriend told me so,” said Ambrosino.

“I did, however, suspect something was wrong with my body the first night I stayed over his house … I went into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror. Sure, I was a professional dancer, and I did yoga, and went running, and watched what I ate. And yes, I was probably in pretty good shape. But I didn’t look good enough.”

Developing an eating disorder, wanting to lose weight, build muscle, modify your body – these issues do not discriminate against sexuality, gender, race or any identifying factor.

These issues impact everyone, and here’s the kicker – your weight and your body are not the problem. They’re a scapegoat for the deeper issues you are discontent with: whether that be stress from work or the faulty belief that you are not good enough due to past trauma.

The answer isn’t dieting, steroids or over exercising. The answer is self-love.

A lot of people think self-love sounds hippy-dippy, too abstract or it makes them uncomfortable, but doesn’t living in a culture where people prize their appearance over their lives make you uncomfortable?

Michelle Minero, MFT commented on our culture’s need to change our bodies in her book Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works.

“If you have ever hated your body, ever wanted to lose weight or believed that if you lost weight you would feel better about yourself, you have mistakenly thought that your problem was your body. It is not. Changing your outsides has never been the solution. The problem has been your inability, up to this point, to understand that you are not your body, to know without a doubt that you are good enough, precious and lovable exactly as you are in this moment.”

“Any problems you may have with accepting yourself and your body is a reflection of hurtful experiences and faulty beliefs that can be reversed through the process of living the Self-Love Diet,” said Minero.

What is the Self-Love Diet? In short, it’s regularly offering yourself love. In full, it’s regularly offering yourself love in all aspects of your life: your spirit, body, thoughts, emotions, relationships, culture and world.

This January, instead of having an appearance focused New Year’s resolution, I challenge you to join the 5th Annual 31-Day Self-Love Diet Writing Challenge.

It’s an online event hosted by the Love Warrior Community, an online community that uses creative expression to foster healing, self-acceptance, body acceptance and self-love. The Love Warrior Community is co-founded by a mother-daughter duo, out lesbian and LGBT journalist Emelina Minero, and her mom, Michelle Minero, a marriage and family therapist who specialises in eating disorder recovery.

Every day throughout January, the Love Warrior Community shares a Self-Love Diet writing prompt on their Facebook event page, and invites you to use January and your New Year’s resolution to develop a daily self-love practice.

Last year, 100 people participated, submitting over 500 self-love posts from the UK, the US, Australia and Costa Rica.

This year, people have already started to share their self-love intentions for 2015.

“My self love diet goal is to stop the negative and destructive self talk,” one person shared.

Another shared, “My personal challenge is to STOP, and take a few moments each day for me! Mentally, emotionally, and/or physically! Need to take care of me.”

Will you make self-love your New Year’s resolution for 2015?

To join the Facebook event to get started, click here: 

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